Samsung Vibrant Review
One would imagine that a handset which is able to meticulously reproduce some rich looking colors on screen would equally be able to accomplish the same for taking photographs, but unfortunately, images produced by the Samsung Vibrant's 5-megapixel shooter was mediocre at best. The interface is your standard one found on other similar Samsung phones as it offers a myriad of options to best capture your scenery. Seeing that most people are more inclined to take point and shoot images, we took some using the normal shooting mode – seeing that there's barely any time for in the moment situations. Images had a hazy look outdoors, average detail, and colors were extremely softer in tone – which is say to say that it would suffice for most people, but doesn't accurately portray the real life scenery. Lacking a flash, indoor shots taken in conditions where lighting is minimal, images lacked detail and filled with noise – but it truly makes you wonder how a high-end phone like the Vibrant lacks a flash.
Since 720p video recording is on board with the Vibrant, we were satisfied with its performance thanks to a capture rate of 29fps. At that level, videos looked pretty steady with just a slight jerkiness when there's a lot of movement, but it's still more than sufficient in capturing some memories you want preserved. Colors remained consistent throughout shooting and detail was more than acceptable, however, there was some static noise captured on audio during our recording – which is even evident when we covered the mic with our thumb during a recording.
Samsung Vibrant sample video at 1280x720 pixels
When it comes down to music playback, the Samsung Vibrant is one of the few handsets that excel in both presentation and performance – catapulting it into the upper echelon of the pack. The tabs on the top of the music player allow sifting through your collection by artist, album and playlists, or display all at once. Landscape mode brings along some eye candy like CD cover flow-esque or an alphabetical wheel, to pick your music poison. Sharing the song via email or Bluetooth is done from the context menu while playing. The current song keeps going in the background when the screen is locked, and you can even pull down the notification area then to display the controls, not a bad idea. Aside from showing the album cover while playing a selection, we like how there's an option to enable a visualization to run. We're happy to say that sound emitted from its speaker was more than vibrant with some serious power to make every tone extremely audible to the ear. If you prefer to keep your tunes isolated to yourself, you'll be surprised to hear the level of quality when using a pair of ear phones thanks to 5.1 channel sound effect – which makes everything sound more full bodied and natural.
Playing Avatar on the handset already provided us a good indication of how smooth flowing videos can be played on the Samsung Vibrant. Not only does it eloquently brandish some saturated colors, but it even runs so fluidly without any evidence of jerkiness or slowdown. We were also able to play a movie trailer coded in H.264 720x306 resolution without much effort exerted by the handset as it played without any hiccups. Basically, the Vibrant is one handset that delivers in the video watching experience which clearly makes it the best handset to side with on T-Mobile's lineup – not to mention it's supplemented with a great display.
The multimedia files get organized in the Gallery, which offers some 3D effects, batch view by date/time, and grid view. It automatically indexes the pictures and video on the card and in the phone. The gallery syncs with Picasa upon launch, assigning different icons to the pics depending on their source. The Picasa images are just thumbs and you have to download them for a full view. Images can be rotated and cropped right in the gallery, uploaded on Google's Picasa, or sent via email, MMS or Bluetooth. The Samsung AllShare function is also here, if you happen to have a DLNA capable TV to watch the pics or videos from the phone on the big screen. Videos can also be uploaded straight from the gallery, to Google's YouTube.
Another area where T-Mobile's version of the Galaxy S is notably unique is in the additional storage option it provides. Naturally you'll find the 13GB of free internal storage out of the box to be more than enough to satisfy the needs of media buffs – but T-Mobile has also decided to throws in a 2GB microSD card.
The Samsung Vibrant is a quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and dual-band UMTS (1700/2100 MHz) handset which will be enabled for voice calling anywhere on the planet, but 3G connectivity can only be had on T-Mobile's network. In addition, it packs 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi for an alternative internet connection and Bluetooth 3.0 to pair up with various devices for wireless transfers.
The default browser worked wonders on the huge capacitive screen. Multitouch feels well for precision zooming, but you can also double-tap for crude enlargement. The WebKit based browser is minimalistic, which we always like – just a thin green line at the top notifies of page loading status, and it loads, scrolls, and reflows text quickly. Hit the context menu, though, and a plethora of options for window management, bookmarking and downloads show up. Great experience, which will probably get even better when Froyo comes up for the Samsung GALAXY S, and brings along the full Flash 10.1 experience. Until then we have to rely on the default YouTube client, which carries its duties with pride.